Nissan Motor Co. will be increasing the warranty coverage for battery modules in its Leaf battery electric vehicle, to reassure customers of their durability. Nissan plans to notify current owners and dealers early next year that it will make their warranties retroactive to cover all existing Leafs; it will also extend to new 2013 model Leafs. The automaker will repair or replace the car’s lithium-ion battery if it loses more than 30% of its capacity to hold a complete charge after five years or 60,000 miles.
Prior to this, the battery life hadn’t been clearly spelled out in the car’s overall warranty. Leaf buyers were told that they could expect up to a 20% loss of charging capacity after five years of driving, based on normal driving patterns. Nissan experienced a firestorm of controversy over the issue last year after seven Phoenix-based Leaf owners claimed the battery capacity loss was occurring much faster. The internet was flooded with consumer concerns about the reliability of the first mass market electric vehicle ever launched. Nissan thought it would be selling 20,000 cars in 2012, but it ended up being only about half that in sales volume. Nissan continues to play a lead role in EVs entering global markets, and now it’s tied into dependability and more accurate warranty coverage.